TEMPO.CO, Jakarta - An employee of the Bangka Belitung Directorate General of Treasury, Soni Setiawan, should have been onboard the ill-fated Lion Air flight JT 610 if he had not been stuck in traffic congestion.
Sony, who left Bandung for the Lion Air flight, was stuck in traffic and arrived at Soekarno Hatta airport at 06:20 Western Indonesia Time (WIB), the scheduled departure of the plane.
“I used to arrive at the airport at 3 a.m. from Bandung. But this time I arrived at Soekarno-Hatta at 06:20 because of the heavy traffic jam at Cikampek toll road,” said Sony, recalling the mishap that turned out saving his life.
Knowing that his plane had departed, Sony decided to book a seat from Sriwijaya Air with the same route as that of Lion Air JT 610, which already carried six of his fellow co-workers.
As he was waiting for the Sriwijaya flight, Sony received a call from one of his friends who sounded rather panicked. “My friend asked where I was because he knew that I would travel home [to Pangkal Pinang]. I told him that I was waiting at the Sriwijaya boarding room in Jakarta.”
Sony’s friend then told him to search for news related to Lion Air. “My heart sank and I suddenly burst into tears upon knowing that my friends were on the plane,” Sony recalled.
Lion Air flight JT 610 plying the Jakarta-Pangkal Pinang route lost contact with the airport tower on Monday morning of October 29. The plane was missing only 13 minutes after taking off from Soekarno-Hatta Airport over the waters of Tanjung Karawang, West Java.
SERVIO MARANDA (CONTRIBUTOR)